Last month we hired 10 Westside Bike Share Champions in a partnership with the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, WeCycle, Urban Perform, Red, Bike & Green Atlanta. Our goal is to build a strong base of bike share users in Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods. Since being hired the Champions have been busy around Atlanta managing community outreach and education about biking and bike share. Out first major event was Atlanta Streets Alive, and we had a blast. This event was the perfect, “Welcome to the Bike Community” for our new Champions. The love was in the air, the weather was perfect, the smiles were bright, and Relay Bikes were everywhere.
LaMiiko Moore, a Bike Share Champions, shares her thoughts about her first Atlanta Streets Alive event. LaMiiko is a great Bike Share Champion because she loves promoting products and services that she enjoys.
Full disclosure: I had no expectations for Atlanta Streets Alive. I had never been. To be honest, I didn’t know much about it, so I went in with a “let’s see what this is about, approach.” I was also there to represent Relay Bike Share, and it was on a Sunday, and the Falcons were playing. I even passed all the tailgaters on my way to the event.
I feel it necessary to offer a bit of background information about me. I was chosen as a “Westside Bike Champion,” about a two weeks before by Atlanta Bike Coalition, The City of Atlanta, and Relay Bikeshare, to name a few program partners. It was during our first guided group ride and our first or second day of training that I had been on a bike for the first time since I was maybe ten, or so. I’m now thirty-five. Not to mention, I had never, in my entire life, ridden a bike in the streets! At this point in the story, some might ask, why was she chosen as a “Westside Bike Champion?”
I totally understand the impulse to ask such a question. If I were on the other side of this story, maybe I would ask the same thing. My answer would be, that addressing a challenge sometimes requires multiple perspectives. I believe the selections were made using this approach. Some of my fellow champions ride every day, some commute to work, some do not, some lean solely on their bikes for transportation, some not as much. All of these perspectives are valid, and can all prove useful.
With Atlanta Streets Alive, ABC and their allies created space for cyclists to see each other, not just in passing or at a stop sign! The event felt like we rented Disney World out for a day! We were safe and cared about, and it felt like a community! We were given a free and open space to celebrate commonalities, talk through challenges, hear improvement plans, and just ride! As a new rider, I found this event to be an essential moment in my bike journey, and I especially recommend it for those that are anywhere from bike curious to any level after that! It made missing most of the Falcon’s game worth it.